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Denying Dubya's Bribe: The Push to Reject the Tax Rebate

Those of you who voted against George W. and his tax cut can now put your money where your mouths is -- donate the $300 you'll soon get to a group hit by federal budget cuts.
 
 
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Thanks to the Bush/Cheney tax cut, many Americans will soon be discovering government gifts in their mailboxes. Within the next month or so, $300 rebate checks ($600 for married couples) will be mailed to three fourths of the tax-paying public.

You could do much with this money. Buy a month of healthcare for your family. Fill a couple SUVs with gas. Pay H&R Block to do your taxes. Or, for those of you who voted against George W. and his fiscal policies, you can put your money where your mouth is -- donate your $300 to an organization suffering from Dubya's budget cuts.

Double Your Tax Cut Donation

Think giving your tax rebate back to the nonprofit community is a good idea?

The good folks over at Working Assets do. So much so that they'll double any tax rebate donation you make through their GiveForChange.com site -- turning your $300 gift into $600 -- from now until November.

"Thousands of citizens see the tax-cut check for what it is -- a shameless political ploy," said Michael Kieschnick, president of Working Assets. "We offer the public a vehicle to turn Bush's irresponsible tax cut into positive action."

Working Assets has set aside $1 million for matching funds, which citizens can donate to one of the 400 nonprofits listed on GiveForChange.com. Groups listed range from large NGOs (ACLU, Greenpeace) to local community agencies (especially in Northern California).

By the way, AlterNet's parent organization, the Independent Media Institute, is on the GiveForChange list. Since we don't rely on ads or subscriptions, donations from you readers mean a lot to our bottom line -- and we can stretch $600 pretty far. For more information, click here.

A growing movement is pledging to reject the $300 bribes, eh, rebates, as a symbol of political protest and a means towards social justice. The nonprofit group United for a Fair Economy (UFE) is spearheading one such mobilization. On their new RejectTheRebate.com,, UFE has developed a petition and pledge campaign to build a fairer tax system and promote economic justice. In the first five days after they launched, over four hundred people pledged their tax rebates to social justice causes, totalling more than $120,000.

"We see it as poetic justice," said UFE's Chuck Collins. "By giving their rebates to groups working against the repeal of the estate tax and the uneven tax cut, they help fund a tax fairness the rebates work against."

In a recent column, syndicated writer Ellen Goodman helped publicize these campaigns and urged people to refuse Bush's hush money. "So you were an opponent of the tax cut," Goodman wrote, "You called the president's 'tax relief' a four-letter word: s-c-a-m ... You didn't want it; give it away. You don't like the budget; make your own."

Since Goodman's column spread, donations to another pledge site have nearly doubled. Almost $200,000 has been pledged at TaxRebatePledge.org, and the bulletin boards are filled with feedback from those tired of merely complaining about the Bush administration and eager to act against it.

Alas, not all can make such pledges. About 26 percent of the population, mostly folks in the lowest income brackets, will receive no rebate at all. These also happen to be the people most often helped by the services suffering from Republican budgetary cuts.

"It is not a tax cut," said Collins, "its a tax shift. A shift off the wealthiest 1% who will be receiving 38% of the this tax cut and onto the lower classes. This tax rebate is but a bribe: a sweetner for a bitter pill."

The sites also provide extensive lists of donation options. A third rebate donation site, DonateRebate.org, links to a list of over 700 nonprofit services. On the UFE site, pledge options range from donating to "tax fairness" organizations to redirecting the money back to the U.S. Treasury.

Another option, of course, is to sign your check over to a local community organization. While the large, national nonprofits can always use more cash, the local groups -- homeless shelters, foster care programs, food banks -- will not only suffer more directly under the Bush's social service cuts, but can stretch your $300 much further.

Regardless of the method of giving, the reject the rebate campaign could generate a much-needed cash influx for social justice groups. At the very least, rejecting the rebate will help many citizens send a clear message to the Bush administration. As easy as it is to take freebies, there is always a hidden cost. And this time, it comes at the expense of those that can least afford it.

To learn more and do your part in rejecting the tax rebate, visit:

www.rejecttherebate.com
www.taxrebatepledge.org
www.donaterebate.org.

To support independent, public-interest media, donate your rebate to AlterNet through GiveForChange.com -- and have your donation matched by Working Assets!

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